Using BASPM as a teaching tool-An AAR

Buzz Aldrin's Space Program Manager (SPM) Road to the Moon is the ultimate game of space exploration.

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SteveLohr
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Using BASPM as a teaching tool-An AAR

Post by SteveLohr » Tue Oct 06, 2015 12:49 am

I'm posting an AAR over on the Matrix boards at:
http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=3942144
This AAR is to experiment using BASPM in teaching high school and college students about the space race. I am interested in comments from the community on this methodology and any suggestions for improvement, including but not limited to additional ideas for student deliverables, additional teaching objectives or other goals BASPM is suitable to illustrate. I'm looking for feedback and ideas from the community on these ideas.

jgf1123
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Re: Using BASPM as a teaching tool-An AAR

Post by jgf1123 » Tue Oct 06, 2015 3:53 pm

Comments:

1) Playing 2 seasons per day means the students will play a 1955 - 1969 game in a little over 2 weeks. As this is described as a semester course, that means they will play more than 2 games.

2) The first post does not describe how your AAR is going to be used in the class. Is this something you will share with the students early in the class? Then there is the possibility that the students will simply parrot the analysis, strategy, and planning you have done.

3) Someone unfamiliar with BASPM will not be able to draw up something like your Draft Development/Flight Schedule on their own as they'll have no sense how long things are going to take. They will either have to (a) copy you; or (b) look up historical development times.

4) While the idea-sandbox tool layout is useful for organizing information, I find the actual numbers used (ordinal rank) to be rough approximations that hide details / carry some error. You have a tool where you put 1,2,3 in and it spits out scores of 18,17,16,15 and that's the basis for decision? That's even worse than people taking a complex decision like choosing a college and boiling it down to a single US News & World Report rating. It pains me that people want to reduce complex issues to a single number so they can forget the details.

Based on 2 and 3, I suggest the following:

i) Early in the semester, students are to play at least one game with some rough goal in mind. For example, play NASA Sandbox on Normal with the goal of eventually landing a man on the moon or a successful Saturn probe with no time limit. This is so the students get the hang of the game's systems.

ii) Your program analysis example should be done with something unrelated to the game so students don't just parrot your work. It's then the student's job to take the ideas you demonstrate and apply them to the game. It will be interesting to see which students advocate which programs for landing people on the moon and why. If the teacher gives an example where he decides Apollo is the best, a lot of students are going to come to the same conclusion.

iii) As students can play a game in about 2 weeks, they can play multiple games. At the end of each game, they can review what did or did not happen according to expectations and refine their strategy accordingly.
Last edited by jgf1123 on Tue Oct 06, 2015 8:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Using BASPM as a teaching tool-An AAR

Post by Nacho84 » Tue Oct 06, 2015 7:48 pm

Hello Tripoli,

Thank you for posting this, very interesting stuff! One of the main motivations behind the development of SPM was to engage players in the subject of space exploration and encourage them to learn more about it.

I'd also be interested to learn how is SPM being used in the classroom, so if anyone has any stories to share please share them with us.

Cheers,
Ignacio Liverotti
Lead Developer of Buzz Aldrin's Space Program Manager

Polar Motion
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SteveLohr
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Re: Using BASPM as a teaching tool-An AAR

Post by SteveLohr » Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:18 am

jgf-Thanks for your thoughts. I appreciate you taking the time to write.
jgf1123 wrote:Comments:

2) The first post does not describe how your AAR is going to be used in the class.


The intent is to use the AAR to demonstrate the use of the game in a course. The AAR itself will not be used in the class, but is to generate ideas from the community on how to use BASPM in a class.
jgf1123 wrote: 3) Someone unfamiliar with BASPM will not be able to draw up something like your Draft Development/Flight Schedule on their own as they'll have no sense how long things are going to take.


Your point is well taken. I am hoping that the two week period of time at the beginning of the course we are setting aside for experimentation with BASPM would help give students a rough idea of the amount of time needed. Possibly, we could incorporate your point made in your positing that the the sandbox play should be done with some goal in mind. We can probably incorporate teaching some necessary game concepts into this 2 week introductory sandbox play by establishing some goals. We would probably also need to include some handouts that gave rough ideas of how long programs take to develop, to assist them in their initial planning. However, part of the real experience of the space program was shifting schedules, as initially, managers really didn't know how long programs would take, as they had little experience with such massively complex programs such as Apollo.
jgf1123 wrote:4) While the idea-sandbox tool layout is useful for organizing information, I find the actual numbers used (ordinal rank) to be rough approximations that hide details / carry some error.


I would have the students explain the advantages and disadvantages of the various approaches they are taking towards meeting their objectives, similar to what I did in my AAR. There, I listed the advantages and disadvantages of the various approaches to landing on the moon, along with how these approaches fit with my overall program goals of time and safety. I then assigned rankings based on these approaches. I acknowledge that the numbers used hide some error, but I think they are accurate for relative ranking, and meets the goal of getting the student to think about some of the decisions made historically during this part of the space program. I agree with your later comment that students may simply parrot the instructor's reasons for the superiority of the Apollo approach. While some of that is unavoidable, I'm hoping to mitigate it by allowing students to establish their own program goals and metrics, so the "text book" solution won't necessarily be the best for their goals. Additionally, by having to play as the USSR, they will have to to the same for the USSR program. I'm intrigued by your suggestion that maybe there is a superior methodology for decision making. Is there some other decision making methodology that you would recommend for this portion of the project? Alternatively, possibly increasing the numerical ranking from 1-4 to 1-10, which would allow more refinement?

Thanks again for your comments. I look forward to your ideas.

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Re: Using BASPM as a teaching tool-An AAR

Post by SteveLohr » Sun Oct 11, 2015 3:09 pm

I've updated the AAR through the launch of the Explorer satellite
http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=3942144

SteveLohr
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Re: Using BASPM as a teaching tool-An AAR

Post by SteveLohr » Sat Oct 17, 2015 1:54 am

I've updated the AAR through the Mercury program
http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=3942144

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Re: Using BASPM as a teaching tool-An AAR

Post by SteveLohr » Sat Oct 17, 2015 3:20 pm

I've updated the AAR through the Gemini program
http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=3942144

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Re: Using BASPM as a teaching tool-An AAR

Post by SteveLohr » Sun Oct 18, 2015 4:02 pm

The NASA AAR is completed and available here:
http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=3942144

I will start a USSR AAR next week. If anyone has any comments on teaching concepts they would like to see added, please post them in this thread or on the Matrix forum.

SteveLohr
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Re: Using BASPM as a teaching tool-An AAR

Post by SteveLohr » Tue Nov 03, 2015 12:38 pm

I'm beginning a new BASPM AAR, from the USSR's perspective, and using some house rules to illustrate the difficulties in planning when there is no overall goal from higher leadership. The AAR is here:
http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.as ... =&#3960635

SteveLohr
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Re: Using BASPM as a teaching tool-An AAR

Post by SteveLohr » Tue Nov 10, 2015 1:38 pm

I've posted an update to my Soviet AAR on the Matrix webpage:
http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.as ... =&#3964871

SteveLohr
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Re: Using BASPM as a teaching tool-An AAR

Post by SteveLohr » Sun Nov 22, 2015 1:39 pm

After a hiatus imposed by a computer issue, I've posted a new update to the AAR
http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=3960098

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Re: Using BASPM as a teaching tool-An AAR

Post by SteveLohr » Sat Nov 28, 2015 11:00 am

Additional updated to the Soviet AAR are posted
http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.as ... 98&mpage=2

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